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6 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Frost Light's alt mode reminds me of Dark of the Moon Megatron.

I did consider adding a tattered cloak, actually... but that would be gilding the lily. 😅

Although, now that you mention it, the last toy I dirtied up so extensively was a Bayverse figure:

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I suppose a more realistic paint job will automatically dredge up associations with the live-action films.  :unsure:

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On 11/11/2021 at 10:46 AM, tekering said:

So, as someone who collects Transformers as character merchandise, this was an extremely atypical purchase for me:

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Toys Alliance Archecore ARC-02, "Frost Light."

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Basically, I bought it for the bad-ass vehicle mode.

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It has a distinctly Mad Max-vibe to it...

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...or rather, it would, if it weren't so clean.

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So I spent a couple hours with an airbrush, a sanding sponge, a bottle of panel-lining solution and a Q-Tip...

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...and I think the results speak for themselves.

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It's actually kind of exciting, having a figure with no established identify within the Transformers franchise.

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He could be a good guy, a bad guy, or just a mercenary with no allegiance to any specific faction or ideology.

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So now I want to add more similarly-scaled armored vehicles to this new collection I've begun.

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What other D-list Transformers (or unique third-party figures) fit this "post-apocalyptic wasteland "aesthetic? 

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I'm thinking Hunt for the Decepticons Axor, or Reveal the Shield Lugnut, perhaps... 🤔

i've got frosh light on preorder too but he is more or less gonna be a standalone because like you...i don't have much that goes with him.  hmm i do think mmc's roadbuster fits the bill (to a lesser extent maybe kultru, exitus and whatever their roller is called).  heck hasbro's roadbuster will wwork too...i think Fansproject roadbuster is a little too far off.  you knwo i've been looknig for an excust to get mmc's roadbuster. hahaha

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On 11/12/2021 at 3:03 PM, tekering said:

So the alt. mode is a shell, composed of several removable parts?

Just like Earthrise Arcee, I guess. :unknw:

Her legs form the sides of the car, and if her backpack is left attached and her shoulder pods attached as such (they can be placed on her hips, too), then her backpack forms the cabin, hood, and front fenders. It's actually fairly similar to Thrilling 30 Arcee's transformation, with exception of her bot chest forming the front lip of her hood, for obvious reasons.^_^ In short, there is actual transformation involved; it's fairly simple. but it's there, which is more than can be said for Earthrise Arcee.

This version has an additional removable piece that forms the back of the car with the spoiler and taillights. In one pic above, she's holding it as either a weapon or a shield of sorts.

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1 minute ago, mikeszekely said:

The pink Nicee was a bit too stylized of an Arcee for me and I passed on it. The black on this Mocha version and extra distance from Arcee have convinced me to preorder this one.

I bought Nicee, and I don't have any regret, but had I known then that Mocha was coming, I would have waited.  As it is, my MMC Azalea stands in for Arcee in my MP Detolf, and I keep Nicee on my desk. Her stylized look keeps her from blending well with MP, but I appreciate the fig for what it is.

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11 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

 I was very impressed by how solid and smooth-rolling Nicee was, and I like this car design with the closed cockpit and spoiler even better.

I concur; that's a really sweet looking car mode. ❤️ I just really don't have the room.   I'm also not crazy about whatever it is that the back bumper/spoiler attachment is supposed to be in her bot mode. It fills out the the car mode beautifully, but it'd be better if that was part of her transformation. Aw well, I'm not getting her so I don't need to worry about it.

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i think i'm gonna skip defensor altogether in MP scale unless XTB's REALLY steps up from their streetwise.  really nice alt mode...kinda not a great bot mode, just ok.  SHITTY transformation.  their first aid looks really good (so far better than mmc's but time will tell).  mmc's aesthetics on the defensor set really turn me off though.  first aid is clunkier than even their combaticons (like i like most of their combaticons and have all of them but their onslaught bot mode was very badly proportioned and swindle was just too clunky and chunky and IMO pushes the set from MP to somewhere unique and not really fitting anything else) and the alt mode is terribad with painted on windows....which also make defensor's arm look terribad.

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So, I got Iron Factory's EX-51 Power Falcon, AKA Powerglide in the mail yesterday, and I thought I'd do a review.  This marks my second IF toy, the first being their EX-545M Kagami Shishimaru, which is essentially Leo Convoy in an Eva Unit 1 color scheme. While Kagami's a fun fig, their take on Powerglide, along with a number of their 2021 releases, really surprised me with their interesting designs. Still, I fence-sat, as is my wont, but I caved to cool and now I have him in hand. So how does he measure up? Let's see...

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Power Falcon has very nicely done Cybertronian jet mode that compliments his Earth A-10 Warthog mode. IF generally take a lot of liberties with their design style, and often their alt modes are only semi-relatable, looking more like the proverbial folded robot than a decent or realistic looking vehicle. When pics of the 2021 figs were initially released, only bot mode photos of this guy were shown, which had me thinking the alt was going to be tragically bad. So happy to be wrong. I love the look of this guy in his jet mode, with his similarities to the A-10: the engines sitting forward of the tail stabilizers, the angled wings, and the general shape of the nose with its signature gun protruding. 

As for features, the tail stabs, both vertical and horizontal, are attached with pins and can be adjusted to any angle within their arc of motion, 180 degrees, which allows for some custom looks. I prefer the standard arrangement as you can see in the pics, but the option's there to adjust them as one likes.100_5144.JPG.30201bd66bc4097346b9e0e03921cad9.JPG

The only other feature is the retractable nose gear, shown extended for landing here. It simply folds back and fits into a little depression just above the area with the little blue stripe. The main gears are affected by Power Falcon's gun which folds into the form you see here. The gun is molded from black plastic painted red with silver stripes on the ends and the silver rectangle in the center. None of the wheels roll, which is fine at this scale. I'm just happy that there's gear. The nose gun, which folds into the nose for transformation to allow a tiny bit more access to the head, can be rotated through an arc of 180 degrees, if that's something you feel inclined to do in jet mode. I like it sticking straight ahead like the A-10 that inspired it. I didn't take any pics of the mains removed, but the bottom has a much more streamlined look without that block o'gun/gear hanging off the bottom. 

Here's the gun removed:

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The handle and the little barrel both fold into the body of the gun and the two black humps serve as the main landing gear wheels. It's not the most elegant solution for weapon storage or landing gear, but it's what they chose to do, and I like that even the weapon transforms and performs a legitimate function for the alt mode.

Transform!

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Like his jet mode, IF's style infuses this guy, while still maintaining any number of visual cues that scream Powerglide. I think he's brilliant. 

The majority of PF is unpainted dark red, nearly maroon, plastic. The shoulders, forearms, hands, and thighs are made from a very light grey plastic that looks white in these pics. The elbows, knees, nose gear, chest hinge, nose gun, shoulder hinges, and backplates' joints are all made from black plastic. The tops of the shoulders have a gunmetal stripe next to the ball joint cutout, the thighs have raised rectangles painted gunmetal, and the chest intakes are also picked out in gunmetal paint. The cockpit has four different window sections picked out in black paint, as well as indented rectangles at the lower middle shins. The eyes and a little stripe on his belly right above the waist swivel are a cerulean blue, while his mouth plate, a little stripe on his forehead, and his prodigious air intakes on his outer lower legs are painted silver.  Oddly, while there is a tiny protrusion on PF's head to represent Powerglide's gun, it's not painted black to match the actual folding gun on his nosecone. The paint that is there is applied crisply throughout.

Articulation: PF's head is on a ball joint mounted at the top of a decently long stalk allowing for an impressive range of head rotation in any direction. Down is limited to about 5 degrees or so, but he wouldn't be able to see past his protruding center chest piece anyway, so it's a little moot. His head can tilt back about 20 degrees if the aircraft nose is moved slightly out of place to make clearance, can tilt for attitude, and rotate 360 degrees unimpeded.  His shoulders are fairly complex due to the three-way breakup of his wings: the wing root is attached to the body via a peg joint terminating in a pinned disc joint upon which the root can rotate a little over 90 degrees. At the body joint, it can rotate nearly 360; it's impeded by the ball pegs for the back plates. The secondary section of wing attaches to the root via a robust snap-on-bar joint, which allows that section of wing to rotate about 180 degrees and peg into the root. The secondary wing has a molded protruding ball joint to which the grey shoulder mounts. Cutouts in the tops of the shoulders allow for 90 degrees of abduction, as well as a modicum of fore and aft swivel. There's no bicep swivel. The elbows are double jointed, formed by a ball peg which pins at the bicep and terminates at a ball joint which provides about 140 degrees of flex using both joints. The ball joint allows for 360 degrees of forearm rotation at the elbow, which is a fine substitute for a bicep swivel at this scale.  The fists are pinned at the wrist and can rotate only partially into the forearm, so they hang down visibly in plane mode.  I wish they'd just lengthened the forearm a tiny bit more or made the hands a little smaller so they'd completely fold away.  The fists are molded with a rectangular slot in each so he can hold his gun in either.  

The waist can swivel 360. There's no ab crunch.

The legs are attached by ball joints, allowing for just a smidge under 90 degrees abduction, at least 90 degrees of rear flexion (his legs hit back kibble, but it's more than you'll ever need), and forward flexion to the point where his knee can touch his chest. Knees are double jointed, both joints pinned, and the calf joint diagonally offset back from the thigh joint.  At the thigh, the knee has about 70 degrees of rotation on a friction joint. The knee joint at the calf has a couple ratcheted indents that take slightly more force to move through, but with both knee joints employed, the legs can be bent just a hair's breadth shy of 180 degrees. 

The ankles are on ball joints. Those ball joints are molded onto a small retractable stabilizer surface that swivels at the back of the lower leg. The ankle joint has plenty of range that will allow the feet to remain flat if one wishes to leave the stabilizer bit extended back for a more digitigrade look to the legs. I hadn't tried it until just now (sorry no pics), and it doesn't look too bad, but my druthers are to leave them tucked into the legs as designed. There's a satisfying little snap to them to let you know they're all the way in.  The feet, by virtue of the ball jointed ankles, can rotate 360 degrees, can tilt inwards about 20 degrees, can pivot toes up about 40 degrees, toes down about 20. the toes are formed from two stabilizer panels attached at the heels and can rotate 180 degrees, which is great for posing as the toes can be moved as needed for additional stability (came in handy while I was putting him in a high kick pose while writing this).

The forward fuselage section attaches to his back using a double hinge pinned at both rotation points. Finishing the articulated bits, for transformation, he has two plates on his back which attach via ball pegs, which are pinned at the back of his chest piece, which itself rotates on what I'm going to assume are internal mushroom pegs, since there are no visible means of rotation externally. The center of his chest is also attached to a ball peg, pinned at the chest bit and rotated at a ball joint mounted to his chest. This bit lifts up and rotates 180 degrees to cover the back half of PF's head in jet mode, which is rotated 180 degrees for jet mode, while the forward fuselage covers the face half.  The upper portion of the lower leg to which the lower knee joint attaches can slide inwards about 4 mm for transformation. The backplates slide into the gaps created by those sliding bits. It's a little fidgety getting the plates in there, but really makes for a seamless look once accomplished.  

Overall, a very well-articulated figure. Ball joints may not be to everyone's liking, but I think they were used judiciously on this figure, and they all have a proportionate amount of tension. Nothing's floppy or even feels close. 

Transformation; I've already covered a number of points, but essentially, going to jet from bot mode, untab and swing the back plates to the sides creating just enough gap to move the forward fuselage down and out of the way.  Rotate the head 180.  Hook the lower edge of the center chest piece with a nail and move it up and out of its spot, rotate it 180, and adjust it to cover the back of PF's head. Rotate the waist 180. Rotate the thighs 90 degrees inwards so the toes face each other. Unfold the wings both at the root and the secondary joint. Rotate the chest 90 degrees so the vents face up towards the head. Rotate the nose gun 180, and then rotate the forward fuselage so that it covers the head. bend the lower legs at the lower knee joint one click out, then rotate and tab the back plates together. Holding the thighs, slide the lower legs upwards creating a gap. Rotate the legs straight while working the aft ends of the backplates into the gaps in the legs. Once one leg is done, extend the foot outwards creating a little horizontal stabilizer. Extend the hell stabilizers, and then rotate the foot towards the engine. adjust the heel stabs as desired. Repeat for the other leg. Rotate the root and secondary wings to form the wing and then slot the secondary wing onto a tab on the back plate. Rotate the wrist as far into the arm as it will allow, rotate the bicep elbow joint backwards 90 degrees, and then the forearm at the ball joint 90 degrees so the arm touches the shoulder. Rotate the wing bit on the forearm so the tab lines up with the gap in the secondary wing and press into place. In order to preserve the slight wedged shape of the tab and gap, I suggest lining the arm's wing bit up under the secondary wing and then pressing upward like inserting a puzzle piece, rather than just jamming it in from the side, which may wear those bits over time. Fold the handle and small muzzle bits into the gun body, and then tab it into two slots by the screws on the lower legs to form the main gears. Extend the nose gear, make any final adjustments to the stabilizers, and that's about it.

And here's Power Falcon with Combiner Wars Powerglide for comparison:

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They're roughly about the same size with Powerglide coming in a few mm taller in bot mode. Power Falcon beats it leaps and bounds in the articulation/moving parts arena, not to mention he comes with a gun for bot mode, which Hasbro is generally reluctant to do. Overall, I find it a really well done take on the character. My only nitpicks are I wish the main gears extended off the wings instead of the gun idea, and that his gun became something like a bomb or an external fuel tank. Also, the canted stabs attached to his legs are superfluous when his feet fold out and form additional stabs that are more accurate to the A-10. The fact that his elbows have more bend backwards than forwards is also kind of a bummer, along with the obvious hands that don't quite fold away. Again, minor gripes for an overall cool figure. Recommended if you're an Iron Factory fan or a Powerglide fan looking for a different take. 

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Moon Studios Moon Shine vs Takara MPG Shouki

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From the front, Takara has stockier proportions, which is actually more in-line with his cartoon model in The Headmasters.  Moon Studios is also going way overboard with the silver; I don't mind coloring something silver on a toy that was white in the cartoon because is really should have been silver, but this is a case where Shouki really was white and blue.  Moon Shine also has blue forearms instead of gray, and the blue stripe with the windows that should be on Shouki's shins seems to be on the inside of Moon Shine's legs.  The one advantage I'm going to give to Moon Shine is that his back is much cleaner.

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I'll leave it to David to pick apart the train details.  Moon Shine doesn't look bad to me, but proportionally he's like half the length he ought to be.  Gotta give it to Takara again.

I'm not sure that I'm in for any version of Raiden, but after being initially disappointed by Shouki's kibble I'm a bit surprised to see how well he actually fares when it's a Shouki vs Shouki comparison.  Size, price, and the combined mode are obviously still factors to consider, too.

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Ok, TFSource has v2 version of XTB's Locke on sale for $120, plus I've got $17.50 in Source Points or whatever.  Now, I know that the first release was a crap show of bad QC and nightmare engineering, but FT's engineering didn't look much better and Kup's not the kind of character I'm willing to drop $200+ on.  Anyone heard if the revised copies are any better?  Thinking about rolling the dice so I can cross the '86 MPs off my list.

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Ages ago, I was just getting into MP collecting.  MMC's Sphinx was coming soon, but I thought DX9's Invisible looked good enough and figured I could get him cheap from someone looking to upgrade, right?  I was pretty happy with him, but I noted that I'd gotten him cheap but at retail prices you were probably better off spending a little more on Sphinx.  Indeed, as time wore on and I had more disposable income and a more discerning eye I started to want to upgrade him myself.  MMC was getting ready to release their "Sphinx Cell", a more cartoon-colored repaint, so again I set about trying to find someone selling the original release for a bit cheaper.  And a little over two years later I reviewed Sphinx, telling you guys that it was quite good, probably worth upgrading from Invisible, and that despite a few flaws I probably wouldn't need another Mirage.

Yeah... I got another Mirage.  This time it's Transform Element's Speed Star.

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For better or for worse, depending on how you feel about such things, the most obvious and immediate difference is that Speed Star is a lot closer to the animation model than Invisible (whom I gave to a buddy, so please accept the Gobot repaint Cocomone as a stand-in) or Sphinx.  The extra molded lines on the thighs, shoulders, and forearms of those two are gone, save for a cartoon-accurate band around the wrist and a line mid-thigh.  His feet are, like the cartoon, actual feet complete with a molded square instead of the car's spoiler, and the engines on the knees are more simple silver squares, per the animation model.  None of the car's white shows on the shins, and the proportions and shapes of almost any given element of his body are more in-keeping with the Sunbow model than the previous two.  I'll also note that the gray MMC used for Sphinx's hands and shoulders are properly black on Speed Star.

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Viewed from the back and sides, you can see that he cleans up pretty well (you can actually fold the sides of the engines in a bit and tuck them more into his back).

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Speed Star comes with just a few accessories.  You get his signature rifle, naturally, and the missile for his shoulder launcher.  Unlike Invisible or Sphinx, the launcher itself is not an accessory; it's attached and stays on throughout his transformation.  You also get a happy face, then, somewhat oddly, an entire second head with the same neutral expression as the head that's already attached.  Upon closer inspection you'll notice that there are some subtle differences, most noticeably the larger eyes.  Cool enough, I guess, although I kind of wonder why you'd do an alternative head that isn't based on the toy.  Then again, I guess my preference is still the one that's already attached, so...

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Speed Star's a lot like their previous G1 release, Op Leader, in that he's a cartoony brick with so-so articulation.  His head's on a hinged ball joint, so he can look up and down a good bit, but pushing it too far will break the sculpt.  Slight sideways tilt.  Shoulders rotate and extend a little over 90 degrees laterally.  The panels on the outside of his arms can rotate and even fold out laterally independent of the rest of his arm.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows are double-jointed for just about 180 degrees of bend.  His wrists swivel.  His fingers have a single hinge at the base, with the index finger being separate from the other three.  His thumb swivels at the base.  He has an ab crunch, but it's locked in place and you have to apply a bit of force to unlock it.  You'll want to, though, because  without it his backpack gets caught on his hips and greatly limits his waist swivel.  His hip skirts move out the way so he can get about 90 degrees forward or laterally, but again his backpack kind of limits him to about 45 degrees backward.  His thighs swivel around the hip joints.  His knees can bend nearly 180 degrees on a double hinge.  His toes have a slight up/down tilt, and his entire foot pivots 90 degrees at the ankle.  The attached launcher can swivel horizontally and vertically.

He holds his gun quite securely using the standard tabs on the handle and slots in the palms.  The missile fits into the launcher by sliding the back, which has one flat slide, into the barrel.  Pushing the back of the launcher won't fire the missile, but it will cause it to slide out a bit so you can pull it the rest of the way.

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After transforming these guys for pictures I'm reminded that Invisible had a pretty simple transformation that sort of reminded me of the old Classics Mirage.  Sphinx wasn't too bad, but it had a few annoyances.  And Speed Star... well, Speed Star's front half isn't bad at all.  Aside from folding in the launcher, which has to be done in a certain order to have enough clearance, it's pretty much exactly what you'd expect.  His legs are a bit of a headache, though, as they explode into several accordioned panels, flip around, then refold over his thighs (which are rotating as you do so).  And the result is... well, at a glance it's fine.  While it's missing some of the finer details I have on Sphinx (some of which may be Reprolabels), the bits of white, the vents, and the "26 Gitanes" on the sides is in-line with the G1 toy and animation model (aside from the fact that TE used the actual Gitanes name instead of the altered "Citanes" that appeared on the toy/cartoon).  TE also put a little extra detail into the engine, which bears some printed "Ford" marks.

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There's definitely something off about the proportions, though.  For one thing, his wheelbase is noticeably shorter than Invisible or Sphinx.  But he's also slightly wider than those two, also, giving him kind a kind of squished look.  While I'd probably argue that Speed Star has the best robot mode of the three, he's definitely taking a back seat to Sphinx in alt mode.

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Speed Star does have a painted seat, though, and there's a steering wheel in the cockpit.  It's hard to see, but there's even painted gauges behind the wheel.  He rolls on rubber tires.  As I mentioned before, the launcher stays on throughout the transformation, bending around between the wheels and his shoulders to tuck up under the nose.  For the hassle, honestly, I wish they'd have made the entire launcher removable and maybe just had it store under the nose, especially because the missile has to be removed and I don't really see any way to stow it.  There is a little notch in the engine, though.  The handle of his rifle can kind of wedge into it.  I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, but it works.

One final note, there have been reports of a few factory errors with this figure.  One is that the hips are misassembled (similarly to Kingdom Galvatron's shoulders), preventing him from getting properly into his alt mode.  The other is that the flaps that his ankles are on are a weird pea green on some copies.  All I can say is that my copy has a few very minor paint blemishes (that you can really only see in alt mode), but no hip issues and no ankle issues.

I really didn't want to "upgrade" from Sphinx, not even for Fans Toys, but ShowZ started taking preorders for another round of this guy at a mere $50 and, as of writing, still has some in stock but it's gone up to $55.  That's a steal!  I mean, while there's still some things I like about Sphinx (mostly the alt mode) I'd argue that for most people displaying their collection in robot mode that Speed Star is the better Mirage, and he'd be the one I'd recommend if you didn't have an MP Mirage yet.  At full price I'm not sure he's so much of an improvement that upgrading was essential, but at $50, $55, heck even $60 or $70?  You should probably replace Sphinx with Speed Star.  I think the only reason not to would be because you're waiting for Fans Toys, but honestly looking at how similar FT's renders look to Speed Star and thinking about how much of a pain a lot of their stuff is to transform I can't imagine a scenario where I think FT's is so much better than Speed Star that the FT price tag is warranted.  Just get Speed Star now while he's cheap.

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Good review, Mike.  However, my first and lasting impression of Speed Star is that he's plain, stiff, and lifeless in bot mode.  To my eyes, it looks like one of those cheap non-articulated toys that you often find at the back isle of Target, along with Movie Monster figs and such.  I realize it's not, but that was my first thought upon seeing it.  

The car mode, OTOH, looks good; it looks like G1 Mirage, albeit plainer b/c toon 'accuracy'. That said, in both modes, my preference remains firmly for Phoenix. MMC's take has far more detail, sculptwork, paint, and decaling that make it pop- it just looks sharp in either mode, and I've yet to see a contender in the MP scale to dethrone him in my collection.

In all fairness, though, TE was obviously going for, and succeeded, in capturing the plain toon look. Great for those who like that approach; it's just not for me.

 

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On 11/29/2021 at 12:14 AM, mikeszekely said:

Ages ago, I was just getting into MP collecting.  MMC's Sphinx was coming soon, but I thought DX9's Invisible looked good enough and figured I could get him cheap from someone looking to upgrade, right?  I was pretty happy with him, but I noted that I'd gotten him cheap but at retail prices you were probably better off spending a little more on Sphinx.  Indeed, as time wore on and I had more disposable income and a more discerning eye I started to want to upgrade him myself.  MMC was getting ready to release their "Sphinx Cell", a more cartoon-colored repaint, so again I set about trying to find someone selling the original release for a bit cheaper.  And a little over two years later I reviewed Sphinx, telling you guys that it was quite good, probably worth upgrading from Invisible, and that despite a few flaws I probably wouldn't need another Mirage.

Yeah... I got another Mirage.  This time it's Transform Element's Speed Star.

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For better or for worse, depending on how you feel about such things, the most obvious and immediate difference is that Speed Star is a lot closer to the animation model than Invisible (whom I gave to a buddy, so please accept the Gobot repaint Cocomone as a stand-in) or Sphinx.  The extra molded lines on the thighs, shoulders, and forearms of those two are gone, save for a cartoon-accurate band around the wrist and a line mid-thigh.  His feet are, like the cartoon, actual feet complete with a molded square instead of the car's spoiler, and the engines on the knees are more simple silver squares, per the animation model.  None of the car's white shows on the shins, and the proportions and shapes of almost any given element of his body are more in-keeping with the Sunbow model than the previous two.  I'll also note that the gray MMC used for Sphinx's hands and shoulders are properly black on Speed Star.

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Viewed from the back and sides, you can see that he cleans up pretty well (you can actually fold the sides of the engines in a bit and tuck them more into his back).

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Speed Star comes with just a few accessories.  You get his signature rifle, naturally, and the missile for his shoulder launcher.  Unlike Invisible or Sphinx, the launcher itself is not an accessory; it's attached and stays on throughout his transformation.  You also get a happy face, then, somewhat oddly, an entire second head with the same neutral expression as the head that's already attached.  Upon closer inspection you'll notice that there are some subtle differences, most noticeably the larger eyes.  Cool enough, I guess, although I kind of wonder why you'd do an alternative head that isn't based on the toy.  Then again, I guess my preference is still the one that's already attached, so...

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Speed Star's a lot like their previous G1 release, Op Leader, in that he's a cartoony brick with so-so articulation.  His head's on a hinged ball joint, so he can look up and down a good bit, but pushing it too far will break the sculpt.  Slight sideways tilt.  Shoulders rotate and extend a little over 90 degrees laterally.  The panels on the outside of his arms can rotate and even fold out laterally independent of the rest of his arm.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows are double-jointed for just about 180 degrees of bend.  His wrists swivel.  His fingers have a single hinge at the base, with the index finger being separate from the other three.  His thumb swivels at the base.  He has an ab crunch, but it's locked in place and you have to apply a bit of force to unlock it.  You'll want to, though, because  without it his backpack gets caught on his hips and greatly limits his waist swivel.  His hip skirts move out the way so he can get about 90 degrees forward or laterally, but again his backpack kind of limits him to about 45 degrees backward.  His thighs swivel around the hip joints.  His knees can bend nearly 180 degrees on a double hinge.  His toes have a slight up/down tilt, and his entire foot pivots 90 degrees at the ankle.  The attached launcher can swivel horizontally and vertically.

He holds his gun quite securely using the standard tabs on the handle and slots in the palms.  The missile fits into the launcher by sliding the back, which has one flat slide, into the barrel.  Pushing the back of the launcher won't fire the missile, but it will cause it to slide out a bit so you can pull it the rest of the way.

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After transforming these guys for pictures I'm reminded that Invisible had a pretty simple transformation that sort of reminded me of the old Classics Mirage.  Sphinx wasn't too bad, but it had a few annoyances.  And Speed Star... well, Speed Star's front half isn't bad at all.  Aside from folding in the launcher, which has to be done in a certain order to have enough clearance, it's pretty much exactly what you'd expect.  His legs are a bit of a headache, though, as they explode into several accordioned panels, flip around, then refold over his thighs (which are rotating as you do so).  And the result is... well, at a glance it's fine.  While it's missing some of the finer details I have on Sphinx (some of which may be Reprolabels), the bits of white, the vents, and the "26 Gitanes" on the sides is in-line with the G1 toy and animation model (aside from the fact that TE used the actual Gitanes name instead of the altered "Citanes" that appeared on the toy/cartoon).  TE also put a little extra detail into the engine, which bears some printed "Ford" marks.

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There's definitely something off about the proportions, though.  For one thing, his wheelbase is noticeably shorter than Invisible or Sphinx.  But he's also slightly wider than those two, also, giving him kind a kind of squished look.  While I'd probably argue that Speed Star has the best robot mode of the three, he's definitely taking a back seat to Sphinx in alt mode.

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Speed Star does have a painted seat, though, and there's a steering wheel in the cockpit.  It's hard to see, but there's even painted gauges behind the wheel.  He rolls on rubber tires.  As I mentioned before, the launcher stays on throughout the transformation, bending around between the wheels and his shoulders to tuck up under the nose.  For the hassle, honestly, I wish they'd have made the entire launcher removable and maybe just had it store under the nose, especially because the missile has to be removed and I don't really see any way to stow it.  There is a little notch in the engine, though.  The handle of his rifle can kind of wedge into it.  I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, but it works.

One final note, there have been reports of a few factory errors with this figure.  One is that the hips are misassembled (similarly to Kingdom Galvatron's shoulders), preventing him from getting properly into his alt mode.  The other is that the flaps that his ankles are on are a weird pea green on some copies.  All I can say is that my copy has a few very minor paint blemishes (that you can really only see in alt mode), but no hip issues and no ankle issues.

I really didn't want to "upgrade" from Sphinx, not even for Fans Toys, but ShowZ started taking preorders for another round of this guy at a mere $50 and, as of writing, still has some in stock but it's gone up to $55.  That's a steal!  I mean, while there's still some things I like about Sphinx (mostly the alt mode) I'd argue that for most people displaying their collection in robot mode that Speed Star is the better Mirage, and he'd be the one I'd recommend if you didn't have an MP Mirage yet.  At full price I'm not sure he's so much of an improvement that upgrading was essential, but at $50, $55, heck even $60 or $70?  You should probably replace Sphinx with Speed Star.  I think the only reason not to would be because you're waiting for Fans Toys, but honestly looking at how similar FT's renders look to Speed Star and thinking about how much of a pain a lot of their stuff is to transform I can't imagine a scenario where I think FT's is so much better than Speed Star that the FT price tag is warranted.  Just get Speed Star now while he's cheap.

great review as always.  i've had TE's for a while and just got a "Backup" copy from showz since at $50 that is a STEAL.  IMO he is one of the best carbots around.  In  a perfect world speedstar would have the details and mould lines i craved from PS-01A and the silhouette it currently does.  the alt mode does look better with the toyhax set even if the blue isn't  100% matched well.  I ordered the decals from china (which i think are a better set) but they got lost twice in the mail so i gave up and went toyhax and i'm happy enough with it that way.  MMC's still kills it in alt mode but at least the TE looks way better than it did before.  i will be skipping any FT version that comes out as i think $150-200+ for MP carbots is close to insanity when $50-70 gets you TE's very awesome mirage.  if they do more decos i'm in too but who knows if that will come to pass.   stll got mmc's alterate ones (red and also a  half translucent) for that i guess.

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On 11/24/2021 at 3:48 PM, mikeszekely said:

Moon Studios Moon Shine vs Takara MPG Shouki

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From the front, Takara has stockier proportions, which is actually more in-line with his cartoon model in The Headmasters.  Moon Studios is also going way overboard with the silver; I don't mind coloring something silver on a toy that was white in the cartoon because is really should have been silver, but this is a case where Shouki really was white and blue.  Moon Shine also has blue forearms instead of gray, and the blue stripe with the windows that should be on Shouki's shins seems to be on the inside of Moon Shine's legs.  The one advantage I'm going to give to Moon Shine is that his back is much cleaner.

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I'll leave it to David to pick apart the train details.  Moon Shine doesn't look bad to me, but proportionally he's like half the length he ought to be.  Gotta give it to Takara again.

I'm not sure that I'm in for any version of Raiden, but after being initially disappointed by Shouki's kibble I'm a bit surprised to see how well he actually fares when it's a Shouki vs Shouki comparison.  Size, price, and the combined mode are obviously still factors to consider, too.

 takara should quit. They lost at their own game 

 

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15 hours ago, Ignacio Ocamica said:

Picked up DS-01 Starscream from the post office today!!!

Very happy with this figure.

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I think DS-01 is probably the best-looking Starscream, and the one I'd get if I didn't have any (or was still rocking MP-03/11). Can't talk myself into replacing my Maketoys Seekers, though.

BTW, I've heard that Deformation Space is actually Transform Element, same guys that made TE-01 Op Leader and Speed Star.

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1 hour ago, mikeszekely said:

I think DS-01 is probably the best-looking Starscream, and the one I'd get if I didn't have any (or was still rocking MP-03/11). Can't talk myself into replacing my Maketoys Seekers, though.

BTW, I've heard that Deformation Space is actually Transform Element, same guys that made TE-01 Op Leader and Speed Star.

You are covered with the Maketoys Seekers. 

This Starscream feels premium in hand. It's completely covered in flat paint which gives it a great finish (but prone to scratching with careless handling). The paint application, fit and finish on my copy are perfect.

Already know about the complex transformation but I'm having a lot of fun posing this figure.

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Ok, here's my little review of NewAge Ultra Magnus:

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Apart from the red bumper, he looks great in alt mode but, because of all the movable parts of the white OP, sometimes it's difficult to get all the wheels aligned to the floor. 

The transformation process takes some time, specially the transformation of the white OP. So, for those who preordered New Age's Optimus Prime, be aware of that. Once you've transformed that and disassembled the trailer, the process is easier. 

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Once in Robot mode he looks pretty well, stands about 14 cm tall, has shoulder rotation, elbow and knee joints. There are no ankle joints, though. The head is on a ball joint so he can look in almost any direction and can rotate his waist.

Here he is next to Magic Square's OP and MFT's Hot Rod:

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My only complaint is that the hands of the white OP are visible if you look at Ultra Magnus from the top:

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At least the truck cab is not visible from the back, as it happens with most UM toys, but it's still a bit messy.

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I'm pretty happy with this figure. It's a great addition to my Legends collection.

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